Pence to lead coronavirus response

by Jordyn Pair · Feb 27th, 2020 8:59 am

Vice President Mike Pence will lead the administration's response to the spreading coronavirus, President Trump has announced.

Trump sought to ease the public's fears in a speech on Wednesday, despite contradictory reports from health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that it is inevitable there will be more cases in the U.S.

"The trajectory of what we're looking at over the weeks and months ahead is very uncertain," said CDC's Anne Schuchat, urging the public to be prepared.

Trump said that administration's top priority is "the health and safety of the American people."

"Whatever happens, we're totally prepared, we have the best people in the world. … It's going to be very well under control," Trump said, although he said he does not think widespread cases are inevitable.

"It could be at a very small level," Trump said.

Pence said he will work with the task force to recommend the "best options for action" to Trump after calls from both inside and outside Congress called for greater coordination than just in Health and Human Services.

Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO) pointed out that the State Department overruled the CDC when it decided to bring home infected passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

"There needs to be someone who can overrule Homeland Security and State, who can make these decisions for the American public based on public health," she said.

Read more: Coronavirus has now infected 80K and killed 2,700 globally. Here's a breakdown by country.


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